Last Updated on November 1, 2019 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP, CSCS
I have many faults as a human being, as most of us do. Perfection is not only highly uncommon, it is also highly overrated. These shortcomings are part of the uniqueness that makes each of us exactly who we are. I’d say one of my biggest faults is that I often make poor decisions, be it important life choices or sporadic heat of the moment whims. A few of those poor choices leave me feeling incredibly regretful, especially the bigger ones. Regardless, once they have been made, they are turned into life lessons…learned the hard, crappy, remorseful way, but lessons learned none the less. They teach us to swallow our pride, admit we were wrong, and force us to work hard to rectify said issue.
Related note: I absolutely loathe the term “pull up your big girl panties”. One, it implies my undergarments are sagging, which they most certainly aren’t, I squat frequently to achieve a level of firm glutes that hold up my drawers quite nicely, thank you very much. And two, I simply hate the word “panties”.
But I digress…the overly used and cliche term “pull up your big girl panties” (ugh) is exactly what some of those poor decisions teach us to do.
Then there are the “whims”. Far more common in my world are these (usually) non-life-altering whims; the type of bad decision that makes your friends and family roll their eyes and/or shake their head in disbelief at you, but really causes no ill-will or harm to anyone or anything…other than occasionally myself.
Like that time I signed myself and Geoff up for a 50K on December 6th.
The Pond Loops Fat Ass 50K, put on by Dead Skunk racing to be exact. But before your roll your eyes, shake your head, or simply stop reading this blog altogether because you think I’m a foolish and irresponsible runner, hear me out: A “Fat Ass” is the endearing term bestowed by the ultra running community on what is essentially a glorified group run…but it’s not a “race”. There are no entry fees, no aid stations, no awards, no t shirts, you get the idea. People come together for the love of running…and usually the love of running really ridiculous distances. Surprisingly, Geoff only questioned my sanity momentarily after I informed him of my latest shenanigans, before agreeing to run as well. Proof that I have truly met my match.
This particular Fat Ass consists of a 3.45 mile run out to a 2.8 mile loop. Run the loop 9 times, and 3.45 miles back to the start, and voila, just over a 50K. All of this means: I don’t have to run the whole thing. It’s incredibly easy to back out at any time. It’s not a DNF if I don’t run all 50K, because it’s not a race. And let us be honest here, chances are very high that I’m not actually going to run all 50K. If I have a good day, I have a good day, but for once, I’m not going to make any stupid decisions. Well, any decisions worse than showing up to the starting line of a 50K that is.
So why would I sign up for a 50K that I’m not trained for and am likely not going to finish?
My ever changing fitness interests have recently see-sawed back to running. No walls, no barbed wire crawls, no spear throws…just running. Of course, this is probably mainly out of necessity, as the hernia has forced me to sit out most other activities. But the semi forced return to *just* running has been a welcomed change; the monotony of endless miles surprisingly therapeutic. The miles are piling up and the endurance portion of my soul is happy.
Lastly, I wanted to join in on this event to help support the local endurance community. The 50K was put together to help benefit the Chad Denning Memorial Fund. Tragically, Chad Denning, a beloved and seemingly invulnerable 39 year old endurance athlete and ultra-marathoner from New London, New Hampshire collapsed and died while running and hiking on the Appalachian Trail on Mt. Moosilauke on Sunday September 8, 2014. While I never had the honor of meeting this man, many of my friends and fellow local runners have, and I could absolutely sense what a huge asset he was to the local endurance community, as well as how tragic his untimely death was.
After the 5oK we’ll be sticking around for a screening of “100: Head/Heart/Feet”, a documentary about one runner’s attempt at the Vermont 100.
100: Head/Heart/Feet – Official Trailer – (2014) from Hammer & Saw Films on Vimeo.
Also, if nothing else goes right, I heard a rumor that Harpoon Brewery is right down the street. It goes without saying that a post __K (distance to be determined) pint will be had. (Why don’t I own a “will run for beer” shirt?)
20 days to go. This should be…entertaining.
Have you ever run a Fat Ass Ultra?
Do you train for races (as you should) or wing it (not recommended)?
Heather Hart is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), UESCA certified Ultrarunning Coach, RRCA certified Running Coach, co-founder of Hart Strength and Endurance Coaching, and creator of this site, Relentless Forward Commotion. She is a mom of two teen boys, and has been running and racing distances of 5K to 100+ miles for over a decade. Heather has been writing and encouraging others to find a love for fitness and movement since 2009.
Careful girl! Getting one step closer to the ultra “Dark side”
I know…it’s terrifying and exciting 🙂
I have never heard of a Fat Ass run. I doubt there is anything like that near me but now I’ll be on the hunt! I am slowly building my mileage back up after 2 consecutive injuries so I’m nowhere near a 50K but it would be nice to know for in the future 🙂 And I agree, there is something truly calming about running for miles on end. Only other runners will understand!
I love trail running so should I be embarrassed that I’ve never heard of a Fat Ass Ultra. Love learning new stuff! I’ve winged it for one race and it turned out to be unforgettable! My first 35 mile race to be exact, the longest distance I had ever run. The experience was surreal! As good as it was I think I’ll stick to training and maybe, every so often, I’ll wing it.
35 miles? Amazing!
I wing it
I tell everyone NOT TO BE ME as well.
Yes! I’m queen of “do as I say, not as I do” in the fitness & nutrition world, lol. I hang my head in shame 😛
My guess? You’re going to be perfectly fine. You have a running base and are smart….and aren’t burnt out. Some of my best and most enjoyable races have come from the least amount of training.
I’m hoping that my base mileage and experience pulls me through. The cool part is I truly feel no pressure to finish, so if I’m having a bad day, or my body isn’t cooperating, I’ll just consider it a “long training run” .
Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner
I’ve never like that saying either! 50K nope not me-impressive though. Trail running is not my friend
I’m glad it’s not just me! I cringe every time I hear it.
The term Fat Ass made me laugh… as someone who well has one. You ultra’s are amazing to me, I am such a turtle i can’t imagine getting up to that distance but I love following those who do. This past weekend, I ran with someone from my TNT group to get our 13 miles in…. a distance I don’t normally run unless I have a medal waiting for me. It WAS nice being out in the cold on the trail by the river with a friend. I have a feeling your winging it will be fine!
The term makes me giggle too !
Janice- The Fitness Cheerleader
I run a half marathon trail race on a whim (read not trained) and have also ran races that I’ve trained for. Sometimes is over-rated. The glory of finishing a race that you didn’t expect to be able to finish is simply amazing and well deserving of a few pints 🙂 Enjoy the non-race!
Femme Fitale Fit Club
Oh my goodness 50K? Well like you said – you have an out! I can’t stand trail running – the unevenness drives me nuts. I use that big girl britches term all the time. LOLOL! Not literally just figuratively.
Larisa Dixon (@0to26point2)
No ultra for me! Unless you consider an ironman an ultra style race. I am a little bit of a wing it. I wish I could stick 100% to a plan.
uhh yeah I’d consider than an ultra-ish. I’d rather run 100 miles than swim 2.4, for what it’s worth 😛
Jen Rawson, RD (@PrettyLilGrub)
I did my first ever half marathon un-trained, totally not recommended..it sucked!
haha, me too! I couldn’t walk for a week! But…it ignited my LOVE for running, and here I am today! So it wasn’t a total lost cause 🙂
As always, a thoroughly entertaining post! LOL NO I have never run a 50K or anything like it… I can’t even imagine running that distance… Good Luck to you though!…
MCM Mama (@mcmmama)
I’d totally do it – for all the same reasons you said. But mostly the beer. I love Harpoon!
Three cheers for finish line beers! 🙂
Stephanie H. (@FitMomTraining)
I think this is freaking brilliant. No pressure to run more than you can and beer close by. Well played.
haha thank you 😉 🙂
I knew Chad. His passing has deeply affected some of my friends who were his adventure racing teammates. His spirit and enthusiasm was such a great loss to the endurance sports community in this area. I am happy that there are so many events that are benefitting his beloved family who he left way too soon. Happy you get to be a part of this even though the distance may be long. Run for Chad. His spirit will carry the runners through the miles.
<3 <3 <3
I have never run one… but I would love to run an ultra… someday. 🙂 I usually train for races (somewhat). But the past few months I was winging my half marathons (but I wasn’t racing them either)
I don’t know how I missed this before! Excited to hear how it goes!